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Taking the road less traveled Spending a year in five continents to embrace my "inner turtle", to live simply, and to avoid being shark bait!

Washing the Dirt Off

CANADA | Tuesday, 16 October 2012 | Views [377]

Snowstar the cow, he was enormous! His back was the same height as me and had very long legs. He was very friendly and curious. The day I left the farm, he was slaughtered, and his meat was already pre-ordered by several friends of S&R, all grass fed!

Snowstar the cow, he was enormous! His back was the same height as me and had very long legs. He was very friendly and curious. The day I left the farm, he was slaughtered, and his meat was already pre-ordered by several friends of S&R, all grass fed!

It was an incredible education living and working on two organic farms; better yet, it transformed me to enjoy being in the garden and getting dirt on my hands.  It was refreshing to be working outdoors almost daily, getting exercise while breathing fresh air.  Lifting and moving logs is a great workout!

After six weeks of farm living, it was time to return to urban life and finally head home.  I am going to miss everything about this experience!

  • Easily accessible organic vegetables and fruits.  Before every meal, I simply head to the greenhouse, pick what's ripe, and cook them.  Sometimes the food, especially tomatoes, don't make it to the house, they are just too fun and easy to eat right off the vine.  And since everything is organic, we only need to worry about washing the dirt off, leaving the skins on including carrots and potatoes.
  • Goats!  I've seen and been around amazing animals all year (manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles, whales, giant tortoises, etc), and of them all, it was a herd of goats that stole my heart.  They are so adorable, as friendly and curious as dogs, and produce great tasting milk!  Thank you Coco, Velvet, Daisy, Elsa, Ella, Echo, Emme, and Buck, for showing me how awesome goats are!
  • I sucked at milking goats but love goat's milk!  What an experience to take my coffee with fresh milk that's still warm from milking.  Then there are also the products I could make from the milk: yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, kefir, and ice cream.
  • Fresh eggs!  My mom once told me there's nothing like having freshly laid eggs that are still warm to the touch, which I finally had.  The yolk is plump and in a lovely shade of yellow, and when fried simply in butter, and egg is silky and flavorful.
  • It was so fun to be around family pets: Mika the retriever mix at Elvendale farm, who can run like the wind and herd up the goats; Seraphina also at Elvendale, the aloof cat who makes the cutest "paw step" sounds when she walks down the staircase; and Sid, the cat at Wild Side Farm with the softest fur and kept me safe at night by sleeping on my bed and keeping the rodents away.
  • Learning basic farming: digging potatoes, harvesting green beans and bell peppers and tomatoes, drying onions and garlics, trimming and securing raspberry bushes, gathering logs for fire wood, making and turning the compost pile, and maintaining the goat pen.  I have tons more respect for farmers, because farming is hard, hard work!  Gives me new perspective on how much organic food should cost.
  • Really great tasting tap water.  At Elvendale in New Denver, the water comes straight from the creek, which melted from the nearby mountains; at Wild Side in Duncan, the water comes from wells.  Besides coffee and tea (also brewed from the tap water), I only drank water the entire time on the farms.
  • Not all rural areas may be this safe, but we never locked the doors to the house nor the cars, whether at home or in town.  The kids ride their bike freely to friend's house, and walk home by themselves after being dropped off by the school bus.  It's one less worry for the parents.
  • This may be specific to the families I lived with, but I am so impressed with the kids and how unattached they are to gadgets.  No TV, no computer, no mobile phone.  They are creative (know how to entertain themselves without technology), energetic (can't sit still), and confident (interacts well with strangers, can cook basic stuff, and knows how to safely use a knife).  Great job, parents!
  • Being outdoors everyday: working in the garden, walking the goats, gathering logs.  It was certainly tough to reach up and bend down repeatedly, but it beats sitting indoors in an office for hours.
  • It was tough to see Ella, one of the kid goats, being slaughtered (I didn't witness "the shot" but I heard it loud and clear), but it was really nice to know she was well fed and lived a free-range, organic life.  I bet her meat was tasty!
  • Same can be said about Snowstar, the cow that was slaughtered the day I left Wild Side.  He also lived a free-range, all grass-fed life, and his meat only cost C$4.99/lb!  I need to get connected to farmers who can supply such tasty meat.
  • Learning to preserve food: freezing beans and berries; making and canning salsa, pickles, and sauces; drying food before storing in the root cellar; and dehydrating fruits.  My new favorite: banana leather.
  • Being so close to the great outdoors.  Mountain, lake, stream, and river, all within walking or biking distance.  Made even better when there's a dog to accompany me.


As for things I won't miss?  Not much, can only think of one:  the little rodent I saw in my bedroom at Wild Side.  After the sighting, I made sure Sid slept in my room every night.  Guess it's hard to avoid rodents on the farm.

Now it's time to migrate south and slowly head home.  Nine months on the road, perhaps it's finally time to stop living out of my bags, at least for a while. 

Tags: goat, organic farm, outdoor

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